- Rapid disaster relief for flooding in Bosnia
- Six Unimog U 5000 with clearing equipment, large pumps and loading cranes
- Used for pumping away the masses of water, for clearing and evacuation measures and for repairing the infrastructure
Stuttgart/St. Pölten/Tulln – In May 2014, the fire brigades of Lower Austria proved with their six Unimog emergency vehicles and several boats that aid without borders can work exceptionally well. They demonstrated that their Unimog U 5000, with its superior off-road capabilities, is unrivalled in its suitability for disaster relief work in the heavy rain and flood waters in Bosnia.
May 2014: flood disaster in Bosnia
Disaster relief teams in Bosnia had to cope with floods and large-scale destruction resulting from heavy rainfall. The characteristic Unimog traits such as superior off-road capability, traction, torsional flexibility, climbing ability and fording ability to a depth of 1.20 m were important. The large ground clearance and the short frame overhang, with an overhang angle of up to 44 degrees, proved to be crucial advantages. They enabled the Unimog emergency vehicles to cross muddy expanses of rubble and drive over washed-up boulders or uprooted tree trunks.
The vehicles’ equipment proved just as important, with large pumps, loading cranes and powerful hydraulic systems for driving the heavy equipment. Together with Hiab loading cranes, work cages, power saws and winches, the emergency vehicles were able to operate completely autonomously on the scene, to stabilise the functioning of the infrastructure and to supply the population with food and drinking water.
The Unimog was even able to cope with desperate situations, driving through riptides up to 1.20 m deep, removing bulky obstacles and pumping away up to 45 000 litres of water every minute. This enabled the firefighters to penetrate deep into the flooded areas and carry out extensive safeguarding and rescue measures there. As a result, countless people were able to be rescued from their houses at the last minute. The task forces from Lower Austria also used their Unimog to provide valuable help with large-scale evacuations, such as vacating the prison in Orašje, but also with diverting fast-flowing water, with clearing waterways and with creating canals.
For the fire brigades of Lower Austria, this was already the second disaster relief operation of the year in the Balkan states. When heavy snow storms and sleet left a trail of destruction in Slovenia, 150 volunteer firefighters from Lower Austria hurried to their neighbouring EU country with a convoy of 17 Unimog U 5000. They assisted the local relief forces in Slovenia in mitigating the effects of the extreme storms and large volumes of snow in the Dravograd, Zreze, Kranj, Logatec, Postojna and Cerknica regions. “Our Unimog U 5000 didn’t experience any breakdowns or failures, they were reliable and worked like clockwork,” said Alexander Nittner from the Lower Austrian State Fire Brigade Association in his positive summary.